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Apply for a Nonprofit Relief grant               Apply for an Arts & Culture Relief grant

COVID-19 and the resulting economic crisis have thrown into stark relief the social and economic pressures facing Summit County residents. The nonprofit sector that supports these residents with vital services and assistance has also felt a financial strain while experiencing an ever-increasing demand for services.

With an allocation of $6.5 million from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the County of Summit has partnered with Akron Community Foundation to provide nonprofit organizations in Summit County with one-time grants of up to $50,000. In addition, the foundation received $500,000 from Summit DD to bolster this funding for Summit County-based agencies that support individuals with developmental disabilities. In total, $7 million will be available for local nonprofits through this funding.

The community foundation will administer the program through three funds, the Summit County COVID-19 Nonprofit Emergency Relief Grant Program Fund, the Summit County COVID-19 Arts and Culture Emergency Relief Grant Program Fund, and the Summit County COVID-19 Summit DD Emergency Relief Grant Program Fund. In total, $5.5 million will be distributed to nonprofits, including Summit DD agencies, that help provide for the basic needs of underserved county residents, and $1.5 million will go to nonprofits in the arts and culture sector.

Grant applications open Monday, Oct. 5, at 12:01 a.m. and close Friday, Oct. 16, at 11:59 p.m. Grants will be announced the week of Nov. 16.

PLEASE NOTE: Akron Community Foundation will provide personal assistance through Friday, Oct. 16, at 5 p.m. Please submit any questions and inquiries before then.

For questions, contact CARESinfo@akroncf.org.

Eligibility Criteria

The following is a brief overview of the requirements a nonprofit must meet to be considered for a grant. Please read the full Program Guidelines, including Eligibility Criteria before applying.

View Full Program Guidelines

  • The organization must operate as a 501(c)(3) organization who is in good standing with the State of Ohio Secretary of State’s office and the IRS and had already received their nonprofit status at least 12 months prior to March 1, 2020.
  • The principal place of operation, or headquarters, for the nonprofit must be located within Summit County. If located outside of Summit County, the organization must have a Summit County address, must employ Summit County residents, and must be providing services in Summit County to be considered.
  • Any human services nonprofit that has had its 501(c)(3) designation since March 1, 2019, or earlier is eligible. If you are not a certified 501(c)(3) organization, you can apply if you find another nonprofit who is willing to be your fiscal sponsor.
  • The nonprofit must not be permanently closed and must intend to continue its operations following the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • At least 50% of the individuals employed by the nonprofit, as defined herein, must be permanent residents of the County of Summit.
  • The nonprofit must not be in receivership or bankruptcy.
  • The nonprofit must be current on all Summit County municipal and Joint Economic Development District income tax obligations and Summit County property tax obligations (if applicable).
  • All nonprofits will be required to provide their federal employer identification number.

Frequently Asked Questions

Any human services or arts and culture nonprofit who has had its 501(c)(3) designation since March 1, 2019, or earlier. Newer organizations (less than 18 months) or those who do not have their 501(c)(3) determination letter from the IRS and the Secretary of State are not eligible. If you are not a certified 501(c)(3) organization, you can apply if you can find another nonprofit who is willing to be your fiscal sponsor. The application would come from that entity, and they will be responsible for applying and submitting any follow-up grant documentation that is necessary.

The following list includes those organizations NOT eligible for funding under this grant process:

  • Public, private or charter schools
  • Colleges and universities
  • Hospitals
  • Any government or public service entity
  • Religious organizations (unless there is a separate 501(c)(3) entity established within that religious organization such as a food pantry)
  • Any for-profit or small business entity
  • Any other funders (e.g. other foundations, etc.)

This funding is intended to support organizations that serve Summit County residents. Organizations with headquarters outside of Summit County must demonstrate that they have a physical mailing address in Summit County through which they provide programs, support and/or services to residents of Summit County.

We will be awarding grants of up to $50,000. Suggested grant levels would be $2,500, $5,000, $10,000, $20,000, $30,000, $40,000 or $50,000. Also realize that even though you may ask for a specific amount, you may not receive that amount. Keep in mind that because these are federal funds, you will need to justify how the granted money was spent in a very detailed grant follow-up report. So only ask for what you think you need.

Summit County received federal CARES Act funding, and the County Executive and County Council chose to support nonprofits who have been impacted by COVID-19. Grant awards will come from Akron Community Foundation, but the funds were made possible through a federal stimulus package.

Yes, you can still apply for this funding. We will ask you what other funds you have received from other federal stimulus programs (Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loan, or the Health & Human Services Provider Relief Fund) or any local funds you may have received (from Akron Community Foundation’s Community Response Fund for Nonprofits or the Akron Summit County COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund administered by the United Way of Summit & Medina), but that does not prevent you from applying for this opportunity. If you did receive any other CARES Act funds from Summit County, you would not be eligible.

Basic need providers will be required to use at least 50% of grant funds to provide direct services to clients and may use the remainder to offset the costs of business interruption or general operating caused by COVID-19. All these funds you may be awarded need to be spent by your organization by Dec. 30, 2020.

You can retroactively look back on expenses you had dating back to March 1, 2020. To repeat, you cannot hold on to these grant dollars past Dec. 30, 2020, so when you apply, please have a plan on how you will justify the use of these funds and ask for an appropriate amount of grant funding. This is not a usual ACF grant process where you have up to two years to spend any grant dollars.

You CANNOT use these funds for any type of capital expenditures, such as construction, repair/replacement of equipment, or vehicle purchase.

  • Expenditures incurred due to the COVID-19 public health emergency between March 1, 2020, and Dec. 30, 2020, such as, but not limited to, the purchase of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), development of digital resources and processes, and modification of a physical space to allow for physical distancing and public safety;
  • General operating expenses, such as, but not limited to, mortgage, rent, utilities, salaries and/or;
  • Expenses related to existing services that (1) directly address challenges created or exacerbated by the COVID-19 public health emergency, and/or (2) need to be adapted to satisfy current CDC and Ohio and Summit County Department of Health guidelines related to COVID-19.

This is a grant and NOT a loan. There are no payback expectations. You will, however, have to complete a grant report on how the dollars were spent. Consult the Grant Agreement for more information.

  • Demonstrated need because of increased demand or decrease in support resulting from COVID 19
  • A clear vision of how you would use these funds – up to 50% of the grant can be used for general operating support and the other 50% of grant funds must be used to provide direct services to clients
  • Applied toward expenditures between March 1, 2020, and Dec. 30, 2020
  • Work in an area or service deemed a basic need or important need:
  1. Food/Clothing – providing groceries, meals, or other food and clothing services directly to Summit County residents.
  2. Shelter – housing assistance, including homeless prevention and service organizations or other nonprofits who assist in temporary housing or housing support services.
  3. Health (excluding hospitals) – providing medical, dental, and mental health care to Summit County residents.
  4. Safe Care/Safety Net Services – keeping children, elders, and special needs populations safe at home or in community settings (e.g. non-school childcare centers, elder care wellness services, before- or after-school programs, homeless shelters, mentoring, community and neighborhood development programs that are providing some basic needs to their neighborhoods, social service programs for refugees and immigrants, educational programs that enhance one’s ability to become employed or to care for their children/family).
  5. Workforce Development – Programs designed to assist residents with acquiring and maintaining employment considering the economic impact created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Demonstrated need because of increased demand or decrease in support resulting from COVID-19. This also includes the organization's inability to offer programming due to COVID-19.
  • A clear vision of how you would use these funds – up to 50% of the grant funds can be used for general operating support and the other 50% of grant funds must be used to provide direct programming.
  • Applied toward expenditures between March 1, 2020, and Dec. 30, 2020.
  • Be considered an arts and culture organization and have an articulated mission that is dedicated to arts and culture. Arts and culture will be defined as creating, preserving and/or exhibiting visual, multidisciplinary, literary, and performing arts, public art, history, and humanities; or be considered a cultural asset unique to the Summit County community. Individual artists are not eligible.

At the time you complete your application, you will be asked your employment numbers for your organization. At least 50% of the individuals employed by the nonprofit, as defined herein, must be permanent residents of the County of Summit. If the organization is an all-volunteer driven organization, at least 50% of the volunteers and clients must reside in Summit County.

Yes, you will be required to prepare a follow-up report on how the funds were used, and you will be expected to send Akron Community Foundation any documentation to show how you spent the grant dollars. Please consult the grant agreement before you accept the grant award.

View Grant Agreement

As mentioned above, this funding is intended to support organizations that serve Summit County residents. Organizations with headquarters outside of Summit County must demonstrate they have a physical mailing address in Summit County through which they provide programs, support and/or services to residents of Summit County.

The grant portal will open on Oct. 5, 2020, at 12:01 a.m. and will close at 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 16, 2020. No late submissions will be accepted, even if you have already begun the process. You must hit the submit button before 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 16, 2020. We hope to have grants announced the week of Nov. 16, 2020.

  • To view a sample of the Summit County COVID-19 Arts and Culture Emergency Relief Grant Program Fund application, click here.
  • To view a sample of the Summit County COVID-19 Nonprofit Emergency Relief Grant Program Fund application, click here.

No. An organization can only receive one grant per organization. The only exception is for an organization that is serving as a fiscal sponsor for another organization or initiative. Such an organization could conceivably receive a grant for its own work, and another for the entity for which it serves as fiscal sponsor.

Yes, you would be subject to a single audit and your organization would be responsible for paying for that audit. You may want to consult with your accountant to weigh the benefit of receiving the grant and the cost of a single audit.

We ask that you please email your questions to CARESinfo@akroncf.org, and we will do our best to respond as soon as possible. As this grant program is being administered by ACF, we ask that you do not reach out to the County with questions. If you have issues with the online application system, please send an email to CARESinfo@akroncf.org, and we will respond to you as soon as we can. Keep in mind that if you have never applied to Akron Community Foundation for a grant, you will need to create a new profile.

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